Amazon announced a new climate change initiative this week, one that hopes to make the billion-dollar company carbon-neutral by 2040. Amazon and Global Optimism announced “The Climate Pledge” on Thursday, and outlined a commitment to comply with the Paris Agreement, a decade earlier than planned.
Amazon is the first signatory on the Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net-zero carbon across their businesses by 2040. The Paris Accord’s current goal is 2050. The companies that sign the Climate Pledge agree to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis. They will also implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement. These strategies include efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies. The companies will also neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.
“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue—we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon—which delivers more than 10 billion items a year—can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can. I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge. Large companies signing The Climate Pledge will send an important signal to the market that it’s time to invest in the products and services the signatories will need to meet their commitments.”
“Bold steps by big companies will make a huge difference in the development of new technologies and industries to support a low carbon economy,” said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism. “With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization. If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge. We are excited to have others join.”
By joining the Climate Pledge and agreeing to decarbonize on a faster time horizon, signatories will play a critical role in stimulating investment in the development of low carbon products and services that will be required to help companies meet the pledge. Amazon’s previously announced investment in Rivian is an example of this.
Rivian is a producer of emissions-free electric vehicles with its headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan and a manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The $440M investment will accelerate the production of electric vehicles critical to reducing emissions from transportation. To further advance this goal, Amazon today announced the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles, with vans starting to deliver packages to customers in 2021. Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030 – saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030.
Amazon made a long-term commitment to power its global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy. Amazon is now pledging to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030 on its path to net-zero carbon by 2040. To date, Amazon has launched 15 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects that will generate over 1,300 MW of renewable capacity and deliver more than 3.8 million MWh of clean energy annually – enough to power 368,000 U.S. homes. Amazon has also installed more than 50 solar rooftops on fulfillment centers and sort centers around the globe that generate 98 MW of renewable capacity and deliver 130,000 MWh of clean energy annually.
Amazon also plans to launch the Right Now Climate Fund, committing $100M to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands around the world in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. The Right Now Climate Fund will help remove millions of metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere over the lifetime of the project, and create economic opportunity for thousands of people.
“The science is clear: healthy forests, grasslands, and wetlands are some of the most effective tools we have to address climate change—but we must act now to take natural climate solutions to scale,” said Sally Jewell, interim CEO, The Nature Conservancy. “Amazon is recognized as an innovator that drives real change. A commitment of this size is an exciting opportunity, with the potential to drive transformational change. We applaud Amazon’s Climate Pledge and their aggressive ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and look forward to our high-impact collaboration.”
The company is also launching a new sustainability website to report on its commitments, initiatives, and performance. The site includes information on Amazon’s carbon footprint and other sustainability metrics that share the progress the company is making towards reaching The Climate Pledge.
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